Spiritual Musings from an Educated Redneck

An inside look of the mind of Pirate Pops

Archive for the tag “Grace”


“For he wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life.”  Romans 6:23

You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, and in general it’s true.  There’s nothin’ free in this life.  There’s no free lunch!  No free ride!   And if it is for “free” there’s probably a catch to it.  You know, like the “free” set of golf clubs if you come tour the facilities of so and so resort.  Well the “free” has a catch to it doesn’t it?  You have to endure a hard-core, in your face, won’t take no for an answer, sales presentation about buyin’ a time-share that you can’t afford and probably won’t use.   So it wasn’t really “free” after all was it?  You suspected it wasn’t from the beginning but you thought you’d give it a shot anyway, just in case.

Or, if it really is “free” it probably isn’t worth having.  How many illustrations are there of this one?   One that stands out reminds me of some of the “You know you’re a redneck when…. jokes.”  Ever heard the one that goes, “You know you’re a redneck when your living room furniture becomes your patio furniture?”  Well, even a redneck will only go so far.  So eventually the sofa, that started in the living room, has been on the front porch so long it isn’t even fit for sittin’ on the front porch anymore!   What does he do then?  Well, he puts it out by the curb hoping someone will haul it off for him!   But day after day it just sits there because nobody sees any value in it.  Why?  Because it’s “free” and if it’s free it can’t be worth havin’.  I’m just sayin’, if there was any value to it the guy wouldn’t have dumped it off his front porch!  It would still be his patio furniture!

Well, he may be a redneck but he isn’t stupid.  He finally figures it out.  All he has to do is put a price tag on it.  “Sofa!  $25.00”.  It’ll be gone by lunchtime!  Of course the redneck will never get his $25.00 (but he didn’t expect to anyway did he?).  Suddenly it becomes worth riskin’ a charge of “Grand theft sofa!”  Has the sofa changed?  Nope!  What changed?  Perception changed.  Free is free because it isn’t worth anything.  A price tag suddenly gives it worth and value in most people’s perception.

The great problem people have with the “Free Gift of Grace” in Jesus Christ is the same thing.  How can forgiveness be free?  How can eternal life be free?  It can’t be!  There has to be a catch because nothing in this life is free!  If it is it must not be worth having.

So, in spite of all the times in the Word of God that “Grace” and “Salvation” are tied together, people argue with God and are convinced they have to “earn” salvation.  “For by “Grace” you have been saved (Ephesians 2:8) just gets ignored.  “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done but according to His mercy…..” (Titus 3:5) just gets ignored.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Mercy and Grace aren’t exactly the same but they are kissin’ cousins and have the same root idea.  You didn’t earn it or deserve it. In fact, it has been said that Mercy means God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.  Grace means God gives us what we don’t deserve.  That pretty well sums it up doesn’t it?

What do we deserve?  Judgment.  Eternal separation from God because of our sin.  Because of His mercy we don’t get judgment, which we do deserve.  What do we get?  Grace!  Because of His grace we get forgiveness, eternal life, which we don’t deserve.

How is this all possible?  Because on the Cross Jesus took our judgment for us!

The prophet Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, looked 800 years into the future and summed it up.  “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”  (Isaiah 53:6)

So, here is where the sofa and salvation are different.  The sofa is both free and cheap.  Salvation is free but not cheap.  A great price was paid for our salvation on the Cross of Christ.  Grace just means that since Jesus paid the price for my salvation, it comes to me free of charge in Him.

So be careful before you question the “freeness” of salvation.  It’s free to me only because the price was paid by Him. Now that’s some good news. I don’t care who you are!

Diggin’ In the Donkey Dung

“The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Luke 19:10

This week-end I went to the my 40th High School Reunion out in Monahans, Texas.  It was a bittersweet experience for me.  It was good to see old friends I hadn’t seen in years.  But the walk down memory lane through the town was in some ways for me more like A Nightmare on Elm Street.  You see I didn’t come to know Christ until the middle of my senior year.  Before that I was a street kid and frankly wasn’t worth much at all.  So I had nearly 18 years of memories outside of Christ on those streets and only about four months of memories in Christ before I graduated and left.

On Friday afternoon those in our class of “72” who had been in choir gathered in the old choir room with Mr. Mills, our old choir director and told stories and he directed us through a few old choir pieces.  One of them was the beautiful four-part arrangement of The Lord Bless you and Keep You.   For me to have been in choir at all was a strange thing in itself.  It was only because a friend from elementary days encouraged me to try out my senior year.  We had been close friends in elementary school but later when I went completely South we didn’t see much of each other anymore.  But he, in an attempt to drag me out of the life I was in, encouraged me to get in choir.  He said its lots of fun and lots of girls.  That was enough convincing for me.  Little did I know that God would use that choir to bring me to the Savior.  It was in that choir that I connected with the friends who, along with their families, would love this street kid into the Kingdom of God on December 31, 1971.

As I visited with Mr. Mills that afternoon, who had retired years before, and thanked him for his part in it all he said, “You know James, your life proves the maxim that goes, “When you come across a pile of Donkey Dung, just dig deep enough and you’ll always find a donkey!”  Just keep digging till you find the donkey.  I knew what he meant about me being the donkey but it put me to thinking over that afternoon and night. What about the dung?  What was that?  And besides that, “Who dug through all of that dung to find this donkey?

The next morning was Sunday and about 40 of us gathered for our own little worship service where I led the worship with my guitar and one of those guys who had led me to Christ shared a short message.  All night long I had been pondering Mr. Mills’ statement and at the end of that service I stood up to share what had come to me about it.  I told them what Mr. Mills had said and then I said, “The thing that hit me is that it was none other than Jesus who was digging through all that donkey dung looking for the donkey that was me.  I was buried deep and hidden well.  How thankful I am that He had a big shovel and didn’t quit digging till He found me.”  The motto of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is “We always get our man.”  Jesus’ motto is “I always get my donkey.”  And He does.  No matter how much dung he has to dig through, Jesus always gets His donkey.

He told us that much didn’t he?  Luke 19:10 “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  You could translate that, “The Son man came to dig out donkeys covered up in a pile of donkey dung.”  You see we’re all buried beneath a pile of donkey dung called sin.  We all need a savior to get out the shovel and dig deep to find us.  That’s what Jesus does.  He digs in the donkey dung till he finds His donkey.  Thank you Lord Jesus for taking that shovel in your nail-scarred hands and digging down to this donkey.

James M. Reeves, DMin.

Senior Pastor, Celebration Fellowship

Author:  Refuge

Life Change for Couples

Website James@JamesmReeves.com

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